WISKAR knew, on some level, that somebody was knocking at his door. It might have been ten or fifteen minutes ago that he’d heard the first shy rap, but he was long past inebriated, and even if he’d wanted to get up, his legs would not have cooperated.
Still, Haron persisted. He knew it had to be Haron, because he’d already put his landlord in the trauma ward, and there was nobody else in this or any other world who cared enough to knock for fifteen minutes straight.
“Wiskar,” Haron finally shouted through the mail slot. “I know you’re in there. I can see you on the couch. Will you open the damn door, please? We’ve got a new assignment.”
“Not another one,” Wiskar mumbled as he fell off the couch, beer in hand. After sucking what liquid he could from the carpet, he left the empty bottle underfoot. Grabbing hold of his coffee table with one hand and the couch cushion with the other, Wiskar propelled himself upright. “I’m getting so sick of this job.”
Haron stuck his hand through the mail slot. “Are you going to let me in or what?”
“Keep your pants on,” Wiskar muttered. He hobbled toward the door, catching hold of the wall and knocking off kilter the framed certificate of completion for the last world they’d created together.
“Do you know how long I’ve been out here?” Haron harped. “And I know you’re drinking again. I can smell it from here.”
Wiskar grumbled so unintelligibly even he wasn’t sure what he’d just said. After fiddling with the locks and finally swinging the door wide open, he turned around and stumbled back to the couch. “Where are we going this time?”
Rushing through the door, Haron took his customary seat on the coffee table littered with ash trays and empties. “To visit the Great Turtle,” Haron said. “It’s far, I know, but Sky Holder’s granted us a vessel to travel in.”
With a moan, Wiskar flipped around on the couch. “Where did he find another slut willing to let two grown men crawl up in her snatch—”
“She is a divine entity,” Haron interrupted in his customarily haughty tone. Not that Wiskar ever stopped talking to listen.
“—before plummeting to her death on an unsettled world? I just can’t imagine any woman, divine or not, volunteering for a job like that.”
Haron was quiet for what felt like a pleasantly long time before saying, “You volunteered for this job.”
That, Wiskar couldn’t argue with, but to his credit, he thought there would be a uniform involved. It seemed like the kind of power position that would attract starry-eyed twinks in the off-season. Instead, he spent months on end stuck inside a stranger’s slimy uterus alongside Haron.
With a heavy sigh and a smack of his lips, Wiskar pulled himself from the couch. “Yeah, yeah. Just let me brush my teeth, and I’ll be right out.”
Staring at the bathroom window, Wiskar asked himself which was preferable: a five-story plunge into the brambles below or enduring another assignment alongside Haron?
Half-conscious and scratched up good from his nose to his toes, Wiskar crawled out of the brambles and into the back seat of Haron’s car. “I don’t know why you insist on doing this every time,” Haron clucked, tossing Wiskar a bag full of cotton swabs and a bottle of rubbing alcohol. “Haven’t you realized it’s inevitable? We’re the creators of worlds—collectively, you and me. We’re stuck with each other. There’s no escaping fate.”